Feedback/thoughts on new Qubes Application Manager

I wasn’t sure where feedback for it should be directed, so if there is a more appropriate place please advise me.

I really like the work that has been done on developing the new Qubes Application Manager. It’s really nice to have AppVM’s separated from templates and service qubes. What I think would be a massive leap forward in how, at least I, organize my Qubes is to allow users to create their own categories in a similar way to how the DVM’s have the specific DVM#xxx listed beneath them.

If you could create your own categories and move AppVM’s in to them, it’d be so much cleaner as opposed to having it all organized alphabetically.

I’m not sure if there are technical reasons this would be problematic, but for me this would make an immense improvement in how I organize my Qubes, and encourage further compartmentalizaiton, where certain Qubes you use are tied to certain activities etc. you are more easily able to neatly organize them together.

I can give further examples of why I think this would be a big value add.

On smaller details, I like how a certain VM will stay highlighted even if the mouse goes slightly off it after you’ve been hovering over it. It would get really annoying if there were less margin for this and you keep having the above or below VM selected as you move your mouse diagonally upward to select an application and maybe just leave the perimeter of the box slightly.

Thanks for the work you’ve put in to developing it.

I do a lot of that by naming convention. Qubes you want to appear together in the list get alphabetically similar names.

My biggest gripe (and it’s a small one) is that there is a concept of a “service qube” but you can’t get a qube (not even sys-usb) put into it unless it also “provides network.” There should be a separate prefs flag for service qube and the use of the icon with the hole or black square on the side should come with that.

Yes I do this, too. But it’s an ugly way to organize VM’s where the ability to categorize in the way I describe above would do wonders for how I organize and navigate my Qubes Application Manger. To have selections nested under categories would create a much cleaner and easier to navigate structure.

One can hope I suppose.

Users of KDE have all the features you are looking for, right now.

The KDE menu is fully customisable, with a straightforward menu editor.
You can create categories and submenus, as you wish.
Entries can be organised at will - you can copy or move entries between menus
and groupings, and order them in a way that works for you.
There are favourites, (global or specific to specific activities).

Here’s an example - notice that the unman group has launchers from
different qubes.
The “service” group is user specified, not constrained by specific tags.

Just another reason to switch to KDE.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.

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I wasn’t aware of KDE but now I’m completely sold. I’ve just switched over and in a very short space of time I’ve made significant customization’s to my workspace. When I notice something I don’t like, it doesn’t take me long at all to find the setting and change it to how I’d prefer. This was a surprise.

How do I customize categories in my application menu like you have? I’ve gone in to “edit applications” after right clicking the menu icon, but the changes I make in there don’t seem to get reflected in the menu itself. When I exit and return the settings are gone, despite saving them.

Two further questions, ignore or answer selectively as you please:

  1. Are there any security implications to using KDE over XFCE. Even in terms of updates, the additional code in dom0, etc.

  2. Is there a way to increase the length of the application launcher. I know there is the option you are running, but that one doesn’t seem to react well to being on a panel at the top of the screen (which I quite like), so as far as the default application launcher, can I alter settings to make it extend further down?

Thanks to your excellent guide for KDE on Github, I have erased two of the questions I originally had in this post :grinning:

Thank you for bringing this to my attention, unman.

Please never make it default in Qubes OS. There are two graphical environments in Linux I really don’t like: Gnome and KDE. I do like Xfce, Lxde and Mate.
Thank you for showing the possibility to enable it. So, if it ever should become default, I’ll immediately want to disable it. Make sure that will be possible if this KDE disaster (my personal feeling about it) would ever happen to Qubes.

Wow! Clearly as a somewhat linux noob I’ve stumbled in to a mine field :sweat_smile:

What is it about xfce that you prefer to KDE? Is it the simplicity?

To me the ability to customize the Qubes Application Menu makes such a big difference to how I organize my Qubes setup that it alone is an enormous tick in the KDE box. Perhaps this is achievable in xfce and I am just too stupid to realize it.

I’ll take KDE over g-dd–nf—ing Gnome any day of the week. (Though I prefer xfce to either of them, provided it doesn’t play the borderless window game [what asshole thought that one up and thought it was a good idea to inflict it on everyone else?] which of course it won’t do on Qubes because they want the colored borders.)

And it seems like every major distro out there is trying to force gnome on us, trying to kill KDE. Why? Why is LESS functionality and controls that hide but pop out at you at random times desirable?

Thanks for the detailed and informative comment.
Now I know you don’t like KDE I will stop promoting its use in Qubes,
even though it enhances the Qubes experience, makes it easier to
compartmentalise , and provides features that Xfce doesn’t currently
have.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.
5 Likes

I’d promote the choice for a GUI in Qubes during installation, so people can choose what they like best. For me it would be Mate, but Xfce or Lxde are OK too. My experience with KDE is it conflicts with some graphical software. KDE is also really heavy, asks a lot of a computer. Just like Gnome3 beïng pushed in many Linux distributions. On Wayland it is a disaster; no more graphical applications as gparted. Let’s keep it simple. Xorg, no Wayland. And no KDE that pushes the use of keys all the time.

  1. Is KDE now stable to install for Qubes 4.1, so I can straight use instructions from

?

  1. Is there any advantage/risks switching login manager from lightdm KDE sddm, as described in Qubes docs?

If I remember correctly, in general there were issues with 4.1 as opposed to 4.0, which needed a manual workaround.

  1. Is installation routine mature enough, so that I can try KDE and - if not suitable - simply switch back to XFCE without breaking my system?

(Qubes docs mention following command for uninstall:)

sudo dnf remove kdelibs plasma-workspace

I dont have any reports against.
Use my instructions - the official docs have not been updated for 4.1

It’s better. I’m not aware of any risks.

You can switch between them at any time at the log in window.
If you want to uninstall KDE then dnf remove kde-settings-qubes is
probably better. But why would you want to?

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Thank you for the feedback thread. Unfortunately, I have been told that Nina is no longer working on Qubes, but I will share this thread with Marta. (I believe they were working on the new app menu together.)

My understanding is that the latest major rev of KDE is considerably debloated and has been measured to run essentially as quickly as the desktops known for being “fast.”

It was a pig in the slightly less recent past.

Indeed - I’ve seen such comparisons and also tweets from Xfce developers
acknowledging that they cant keep up with KDE development.

The question is, how does it work for you in Qubes?
In my experience, it’s comparable with Xfce and provides far more
functionality. That’s why I recommend it.
I don’t know any one who has stopped using KDE on performance grounds,
even with quite lightweight Qubes machines.

And, of course, it’s easy to install and easy to switch between the two.
So users can give it a try, but then revert to Xfce if they prefer.
(Again, I don’t know any one who has done that.)

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.

I’ve not noticed performance issues, but this is a reasonably stout system.

The biggest issue I had was finding the process of setting thins a bit quirky but once you know the quirks you forget about them. (It’s on my To Do list to put a comment in the KDE thread describing them for future people. I should be ideal for this because I was using xfce even before I came to Qubes and so it fit me like an old shoe and I noticed every difference.) Oh, and I had that difficulty with plasma vs KDE for a while. And the audio which was 99.9% unrelated–it was an arrangement-of-plugs issue that KDE was less tolerant of than xfce though both were broken

So yes I did switch back, but have not done so since I got KDE working so I am the exception that proves the rule.

Hi, I have been using Qubes for a few months and love it - it is a creative and powerful solution.
Took me a while to figure out USB management and to get Proton VPN working, but they are all glued together nicely now.

Not being familiar with either Fedora or Debian has been my main learning curve, I am used to KDE on openSuse (20 years+). Thanks for your encouragement with KDE, does it matter whether I install it on a Debian or Fedora based system?